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Maybach axed as Mercedes aims higher
The Maybach brand is to be discontinued once the lifecycle of its current 57 and 62 limousines has expired, according to the head of parent company Daimler.
The struggling ultra-luxury arm of the Daimler family will close in 2013, following consistently poor sales in a market dominated by Bentley and Rolls-Royce – premium marques respectively owned by Volkswagen and BMW.
Rather than spend millions developing second-generation models, Daimler has decided to extend the reach of the next Mercedes S-Class – due in 2013. An über-luxurious S600 Pullman will plug the gap left by Maybach, whose fate was sealed by an internal marketing study.
Research showed that Mercedes has more potential to steal sales from Bentley and Rolls-Royce. “We came to the clear conclusion that the sales chances for the Mercedes brand were better than Maybach’s,” Daimler Chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche told a German newspaper.
In a segment hard-hit by the economic downturn, the ill-fated Maybach has consistently failed to meet original sales targets. Last year just 200 found owners, and only around 3000 have been sold since the brand’s resurrection nearly ten years ago.
In contrast, Rolls-Royce sold almost that amount in 2010 alone, a year which also saw Bentley enjoy sales of over 5000.
The decision once again consigns the brand to the cutting-room floor of automotive history. Maybach was originally formed in the 1920s before WWII halted production; it didn’t resume until 2002, after Daimler failed in its own bid to purchase Bentley or Rolls-Royce.
Rumours of Maybach’s imminent demise have been circulating for several years. But with a final attempt at a rescue plan involving a tie-up with Aston Martin now seemingly out of reach, it seems this is the final nail in the coffin.
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